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"So, what'd you do over the break?" Technically, they weren't supposed to be talking. Never were. But Penny always got away with it. And somehow got her work done too. 

Gaige shrugged, copying the bare minimum from the history textbook into his notebook to look like he was taking decent notes on the Vietnam war. 

Penny groaned, momentarily stopping her own notes, to lean on her textbook in frustration, "Gaige, honey, sweetheart, babe, human, man, dude. You are like talking to a pale brick wall- which, by the way, you doing okay?" Gaige barely cut his eyes to Penny and kept looping his letters into illegible words, "Okay, fine. I had a good break. I got the cutest clothes. Like honestly, this fit will be poppin' for-ever. I ate so much sugar cookies like my mom accidentally made the batch a double batch which meant I had to eat double to make up for her mistake. And, I got some cute photos in front of the Christmas tree."

Penny nodded, content with her little run down of her holiday, "It was cute, it was fresh," Strangely, there was a pause in the talking, only for Penny to lean closer to Gaige, "Was your break cute and fresh?"

Gaige's pencil hovered above the paper, his eyes pausing there scanning of the textbook rambling words. It wasn't really the same as Penny's, no, but the girl was too innocent to care about that. 

"Sure," Gaige pursed his lips and turned hsi head to the teen girl, "Cute and fresh."

That made Penny giggle, "Okay, those words in your mouth. Adorable. What'd you do? Eat a shit ton of cookies too?" The teacher -usually peacefully ignorant of their conversations- cut her narrowed eyes to the two kids in the back at the curse words. Penny bowed her head to avoid the gaze but still grinned at Gaige who shook his head and went back to his work.

"I went back to Florida. Saw family. Made up for lost time," He licked his lips and flipped the page. 'Got reject by my two best friends, realized I'm a bigger disappointment than I thought to my parents and finished my old bottle of Jack Daniels'.

"Aww. That is so sweet. Holiday magic at its finest," Penny pushed her cheeks together in admiration. Gaige scuffed, how the hell was Penny getting anything done? "Was it nice seeing your family again? After so long? I can't imagine not seeing certain families for so long. I mean, yeah there are some relatives I'd kill never to see again, but like my mom. Phew, I don't know what I'd do without her. Or my little brother, he's a ginormous pain in the ass, but sometimes he's cute."

Gaige just had his head turned, watching as Penny stared off and kept rambling about the good and bad people in her family. Gaige knew she transgender, how harsh and discriminating family can be to people transitioning. But this girl, whose hair was now rose gold, had enough optimism to care about the people she couldn't imagine life without. The people who loved her, and she loved back.

Gaige wondered how long he'd have to sit -in total silence- thinking as hard as he could to find the optimism needs to find the people he couldn't live without.

 Right now, in Gaige's mind, he was already living without everyone. 

"Carmen got her licenses over the break, and so when we finally come into money, we're going get off campus and get Taco Bell -probs," Penny was actually writing something down, if it was the notes, Gaige wasn't positive, "You totally invited, by the way. We'll look cooler leaving with a tall guy, too."

Gaige let a chuckle, "So I'm for coolness, now? I get it," he shook his head, but there was still a little bit of a smile hanging on his face.

"I mean..." When Gaige looked at Penny, she had an evil, sly smile, "I'm kidding. You never eat though, I thought maybe it was the nasty-ass school food. So you can always come out to eat real food. And, I mean, if you can hook us up with a car, that'd be dope."

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